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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This tank was a long time coming. I had a 2.5g for the longest time because I didn't want to pay $30 for a 5.5g kit (which is all the LFS carries) when a 10g cost $13. A few months ago, in preparation for moving from a house to my current apartment, I bit the bullet and got the 5.5g. I wish I had gotten it sooner. It's just the right size for a nano - large enough to hold some fish and create a decent scape, but not so large that water changes become a hassle.

At first I used the kit light, but that was a measly 10w CF right over the center of the tank. In the middle the light was bright enough to grow any algae you wanted, but on the sides even an anubias would have trouble. I know this because I had anubias in this tank at first. A lot of anubias - at least 5 nanas, 8-10 petites, and one barteri, plus four or five genuine narrow leaf java fern. Unfortunately, I stuck the tank in an out of the way spot and completely ignored it for two or three months before the move, thinking a bunch of anubias and java fern wouldn't care.

Well, maybe they didn't mind the neglect, but in the last few weeks of the move the air conditioner broke. In August. It was over 90 degrees in our house for three days. The air conditioner was repaired, we moved into the apartment, and the power was turned off in the house.

I had left the tank behind along with some of our stuff in the expectation that we would go back the next day to finish moving. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get back until over a week later (this was not my fault- I didn't care that much about the rest of the boxes, but I was very anxious to get my tank out of there). When I finally got into the tank, the water was black and all but four or five of the petites and two java ferns were mush. :icon_cry:

So basically I had to start over. The idea now is that this will be my fun tank. I had set up my previous 12+ tanks primarily for breeding guppies and shrimp. Let me tell you something: breeder tanks are ugly. I sold all of them before the move and could console myself only with the idea that I would really enjoy this tank. I would make sure that I got plants and fish that I liked and equipment that did what I wanted it to do without endless modding. And so, this tank has been named Bon Vivant in reference to how I am indulging my preferences instead of pursuing utility.

A warning to those of you who are bothered by overstocking: I like the look of an overstocked tank and have always overstocked my tanks. This one will be no exception.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Equipment:
5.5g tank
16" Finnex Stingray light
Aquaclear 20 filter with sponges and carbon to absorb driftwood tannins
Black Tahitian moon sand with root ferts from RootMedic
Driftwood
Ammonia sensor
Feeding ring (to be added)

Maintenance:
Weekly or fortnightly 30-60% water change
Pinch of dry CSM+B mixed with iron dosed weekly
Flourish nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus dosed weekly or biweekly
Flourish excel dosed daily (may switch to DIY CO2)
Daily feeding (rotation of freeze dried daphnia, decapped brine shrimp eggs, Omega One flakes, NLS pellets; piece of NLS wafer for pleco)

Fauna:
Long fin albino bristlenose pleco (will outgrow the tank, but staying for now)
Castrated male endler named Roger
Half-thumb dorsal blue grass guppies (ATFG strain but bred by Prontodelivery)
One large blue ramshorn snail
Amano shrimp (eventually, if I ever find them locally or cheaply online)

Flora:
Ludwigia sp. "Red"
Water sprite (temporary)
Narrow (not needle) leaf java fern
Petite anubias
Crypt. wendtii "Green"
Crypt. pontederifolia
Echinodorus parviflorus
Micranthemum umbrosum
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (may switch to DHG Belem if I can get it cheaply)
Unknown stem (ID would be appreciated)

All plants except the anubias and java fern came from Bamaplants.com. I highly recommend this site because the owner will answer your questions as carefully and thoughtfully as a hobbyist would. He won't just tell you to google everything. Some of the plants may have algae or snails, though he dips them in potassium permanganate before shipping.


Pics

Full tank shots:







Ludwigia sp. "Red" - This has turned orange because I was accidentally underdosing the tank. It's starting to turn red again now that I've increased the ferts:





Baby water sprite leaf:



Unknown plant (Rotala sp?):



Snail:



Roger:





Roger together with the male guppy to show the size difference between endlers and guppies. Note that Roger is full grown and the male guppy is only 2 months old:



The male guppy's color varies depending on if he's directly under the light or not:









And for the grand finale, my favorite fish, the long fin albino bristlenose pleco! *Fanfare*



He's about the same size as the guppies:



But his fins are pure awesome:

 

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Cute tank. Guppies will overpopulate this quickly.
Also what is you plan for your bristlenose? How long has he been in this tank? He is likely getting stunted. He is a beautiful fish and in that tank will not live as long or as well as he should.
I hope you have other - bigger tanks available to you.
 

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Cute tank. Guppies will overpopulate this quickly.
Also what is you plan for your bristlenose? How long has he been in this tank? He is likely getting stunted. He is a beautiful fish and in that tank will not live as long or as well as he should.
I hope you have other - bigger tanks available to you.
+1 this. I think bns should be kept in 20 or larger to give plenty of room for growth, poo dilution, and natural noms (should still get supplements with veggies and wafers as needed though).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahem:

I had set up my previous 12+ tanks primarily for breeding guppies and shrimp.

...

A warning to those of you who are bothered by overstocking: I like the look of an overstocked tank and have always overstocked my tanks. This one will be no exception.

...

Long fin albino bristlenose pleco (will outgrow the tank, but staying for now)
I've bred guppies for about four or five years, so I'm aware of how quickly they will breed. I plan to keep the population at about 12 males and 3 females.

The pleco has been in the tank about two weeks. I got him about six weeks ago. The whole growth hormone thing is a myth, so he won't get stunted unless I let the water quality go bad or stop feeding him. I checked the growth rate of LFABN and he should reach 3" or so in about six months, so I'll start looking for a new home for him in March or April.

This tank was designed to accommodate a large bioload. That's why I chose fast growing plants and added an ammonia sensor. The substrate is 80% covered with plants, 90% of which (by volume, not species) are fast growers. I may need to stop dosing nitrate, but that's fine with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I stand corrected. After researching it further, I have found that some fish do release a growth-inhibiting pheromone. However, I do not think the pleco will become stunted in this tank. His growth may be slowed, but I define stunting as permanently reduced size with environmentally-induced deformities, not just slowed growth. That usually requires some amount of neglect, not just a smaller tank size.

I appreciate your concern, but I have no intention of rehoming the pleco at this time. In order to prevent my tank journal from being derailed, I ask that any further comments about my pleco be combined with constructive comments about some other aspect of the tank.
 

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Ahem:



I've bred guppies for about four or five years, so I'm aware of how quickly they will breed. I plan to keep the population at about 12 males and 3 females.

The pleco has been in the tank about two weeks. I got him about six weeks ago. The whole growth hormone thing is a myth, so he won't get stunted unless I let the water quality go bad or stop feeding him. I checked the growth rate of LFABN and he should reach 3" or so in about six months, so I'll start looking for a new home for him in March or April.

This tank was designed to accommodate a large bioload. That's why I chose fast growing plants and added an ammonia sensor. The substrate is 80% covered with plants, 90% of which (by volume, not species) are fast growers. I may need to stop dosing nitrate, but that's fine with me.
As a guppy keeper/breeder myself how do you plan to keep only 3 females with 12 males? Don't you find they get stressed by the constant harassment of the males?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So far the Stingray is great! The only thing I don't like about it is how blue it is. It averages around 10,000k and I prefer 5500-6500k. The M. umbrosum was emersed grown when I got it (~Oct 29) and it has grown about 1.5" over the last nine days, so the light is definitely enough to support fast growth! Last night I uprooted the MU, trimmed off the bottom stems, and replanted it. I hope to upload a pic later tonight.

I was thinking of taking a pic once a week for a while and making a gif to show the growth of the tank over time. Would anyone be interested in seeing something like that?

Amcoffeegirl, I know it says everywhere that you're supposed to have at least one female for each male, but even with that setup the males will usually gang up on one favorite female. I've kept a lot of males with only a few females in the past and as long as the females are young, they can handle it. If I need to, I'll remove the females and have a male-only tank.

I hope eventually to have something like this:
 

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Any further pics of this tank? I'm considering the 16" stingray for my 5.5.
Same here! You said it was too blue and that was my concern as well. Having the Finnex Planted+ would be overkill... Maybe add a red LED lamp or two?

Love the tank! I hope it's still going!
 
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